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oblue

Obsidian Blue

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

Currently reading

Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir
Amy Tan
The Gunslinger
Stephen King
Pet Sematary
Stephen King
Read, Write, Love at Seaside
Addison Cole
Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
Heather Harpham Kopp
Dune Messiah
Frank Herbert
Progress: 331/331 pages
The Silent Corner
Dean Koontz
Progress: 90/464 pages
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Progress: 50 %

Bookstagram Saturday

Reading progress update: I've read 331 out of 331 pages.

Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert

Ehhh not that great. This was not as gripping as the first book to me at all until the very end.

 

I don't see me continuing this series. The second book was way too light on dialogue and even plot. If I think too hard about things I just want to sigh and mumble plot holes. 

Reading progress update: I've read 99 out of 331 pages.

Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert

Feel guilty for staying this, but not feeling this one. It's so boring. It's been 12 years since the first book and the Bene Gesserits are still trying to take out Paul and force Irulan to help.

TBR Thursday: Bringing it Back

I decided to start doing TBR Thursday again. With things going on right now I want to immerse myself in positive things. Wishing you all peace in your hearts and minds right now.

Bought (2):

 

Read, Write, Love at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Book 1) by [Cole, Addison]The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by [King, Stephen]

Total cost was $0.00 since the first book I bought it for free via Amazon Kindle. The second book I bought a while ago and have no idea how much I paid for it via Barnes and Noble.  

 

Borrow (5):

 

Cover image for Where the Past BeginsCover image for Pet Sematary[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available]

 

Holds (14):

 

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]Cover image for The Three-Body ProblemCover image for First Grave on the Right

Cover image for Broken HarborCover image for The Darkest MindsCover image for Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely FineCover image for Renegades

Cover image for The Drawing of the ThreeCover image for Men Explain Things to Me

 

Total TBR: 21 books.

 

Not great, but not as bad as it could be. If I had not finished a ton of books I bought this past week I would be in worse shape. 

 

Do you all have some books you are looking forward to read in the next few days/week?

 

TBR Thursday is the brainchild of my partner in crime, Moonlight Reader. 

Happy Valentine's Day Boolikers!

Happy days to you all and I wish you good reading times ahead.

 

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This Will Be My Undoing

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

Sigh. I don't know what to say. This collection of essays is very good. Jerkins goes into the highs and lows of being a black woman in America. She goes into what it means to be a black woman while on travel (Russia and Japan). She goes into being a black woman trying to be successful, but still treated like she's from another world since many black men out there don't know what to do with a black woman who is out there being a success and doesn't have time for their foolishness. 

 

Jerkins goes into the cycles of black women in America. When you are just a kid and realize that your hair is going to take a lot of your time/sanity to deal with since you get treated a certain way if your nice is "ethnic." How she felt being one of the smartest girls in her school and how that caused backlash among other black girls. 


From there she goes into going to Princeton college and finding herself un-dateable. I had the opposite problem when I went to the University of Pittsburgh. I just used to lie and tell people I was in a relationship to be left alone. I was focused on finishing undergraduate and that was it. When I did get into graduate school was when I went and found a dude who wasn't worth anything. I am still mad that I loaned this boy (seriously he was such a child) money and he had the nerve to act like I was not being a "good" black woman since I refused to cook for him after coming home from an internship and classes. A few years ago he sent me a Facebook friend request. I was never so happy to block someone in my life.

 

A lot of Jerkins essays though go in unexpected ways. Her essay about Michelle Obama actually made me sad and mad. I still cannot believe how much Michelle Obama was attacked by the media and conservatives out there.  I don't blame her for not running for office in 2020. I would be sitting on a beach and just drinking all the wine. 

 

Another essay I loved was the one Jerkins wrote about how powerful Beyonce is to black women out there and how her latest album, Lemonade, touched a lot of us in many ways. You start to think you are the only one out there struggling with things, because as black women we are taught to keep our pain inside. Keep on walking, stay strong, don't ask for help, etc. Constantly being on guard to make sure you speak "right" around mixed groups, to not be the "angry black woman" so people can dismiss your points is exhausting as hell. 

 

Though I gave this four stars, I still marked it as a favorite. The only reason why I gave this four stars is that in some of the essays, Jerkins jumps around a lot that can get a bit confusing if you don't have context for some of the things she is talking about. Though I liked her essay on "Black Girl Magic" she goes into what the movement was about, how some people attacked it, and then a personal subject about a medical procedure she decided to undergo. It was a bit crowded in there for me in that chapter. I would have liked it if it was broken up. 

 

I also just liked the "How to Survive: A Manifesto on Paranoia and Peace" was not for me. I liked "How to be Docile" much better since she uses similar writing styles in both essays. 

 

I have never heard of Jerkins before, but am going to go out and take a look at some of her writing as soon as possible. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

Wow. What a very good read! I may not agree with all things in this collection of essays, but Jerkins got me thinking which is never a bad thing. This starts off slow and it tends to jump around (essays) but there were some essays I found quite powerful which were: Monkeys Like You, A Lotus for Michelle, Black Girl Magic, Human, Not Black, and Who Will Write Us?

 

I wanted to finish this before I see Black Panther tomorrow night. I can't explain to my friends who are not POC how excited and joyful this movie makes me. It's like going out to a big block party. I have friends who I have not talked to in a long time who are meeting up for dinner first. We are dressing to the nines. And we will be living and breathing Wakanda for two hours. My aunt said to me the last time she remembers this many black people watching something that was almost solely black actors and actresses is when Roots came out. That was in 1977 (I was not alive at that time). 

Reading progress update: I've read 80%.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

Lemonade is not simply a love story, but rather a multilayered portrait of all black woman experiences, all the pain that she endures, divided into eleven chapters: Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, and Redemption. 

 

 

 

Image result for i aint sorry gif 

Reading progress update: I've read 70%.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

White people think of it as a compliment when they do not "see" you as a black person.

 

Image result for girl bye gif

Reading progress update: I've read 45%.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

Ninety-four percent of black women who voted in the 2016 election voted for Hillary Clinton.

 

...And yet black women rolled up their sleeves and voted for her while white women-53 percent to be exact-decided that a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic man with neither government or nor military experience deserved to be president. Now, ain't that some shit? Hillary Clinton, the patron saint of white feminism, couldn't depend on them on Election Day, despite all of the celebrity support and pantsuit flash mobs. 

 

On November 8, 2016, white people chose white supremacy.  

 

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Reading progress update: I've read 45%.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

Her essay to Michelle Obama had me shook.

 

You were the only First Lady to have two Ivy League degrees, you tied with Eleanor Roosevelt for tallest, and, of course, you were black.

You were not the kind of blackness that would make white people feel at ease. You are not light-skinned with gray or green eyes, and your hair is not curly.

Unlike Barack, you cannot claim a white parent, and in turn white people cannot claim any stake in your success. You did not get pregnant out of wedlock. 

 

Because no one could find any flaw in you, they made you feel worthless by just by  being in your body. 

 

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Reading progress update: I've read 45%.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

Savoring this book like it's a fine wine. I am trying to not highlight every sentence, but seriously this book speaks to me soul. It is saying things I have thought/felt and it's turning me inside out. That's why it's taking me so long to finish. I have thoughts/memories that are making me tear up right now since for a time you start to think is it just me out here going through this? Jerkins shows it's not.

 

 

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Sugar

Sugar - Kimberly Stuart

Going to go with four stars since I did enjoy a lot about this book. I just wish the author had surprised us with an ending that had the main character (Charlie) realize that if she is going to date someone, that they had to not only trust her, but understand her job. I had some dissatisfaction with that plot-line as well as the whole t.v. thing. It was weirdly done at the end and I don't know how to feel about it. 

"Sugar" focuses on Charlie Garrett, a chef at one of the hottest restaurants in New York, L'Ombre. Charlie puts up with the daily put-downs of the head chef (baker) at the restaurant who makes her and other co-workers days/nights a nightmare. Charlie puts up with it though since she is promised eventually she is going to get promoted. But when Charlie is given an offer to move to Seattle and work alongside her ex-boyfriend Avery, she leaps at the chance after one put-down/shitty move too many. There's a catch though for Charlie, working with Avery means she agrees to being filmed for a reality tv series and she can't talk about it with others. With her long days/nights put in at Avery's restaurant she doesn't have a lot of time with a budding relationship with a man she meets named Kai.

I have to say, Charlie was awesome in so many ways. She's smart, driven, a neat-nik, and loves to bake. She has dreams and knows that working with Avery in Seattle may be enough to get her to where she should be at in her life. But she feels forced to choose due to actions/conversations with her best friend and with Kai. I hate that there is this whole idea that women can have it all. Having it all means/looks like a lot of different things to people, and most of us cannot have it all. Most of us are going to work long hours and give up on tucking our kids into bed, that does not makes us a failure. There was some interesting commentary here and there that I think had Stuart wading in a bit to feminist waters. But that's all thrown out the door based on what Charlie ultimately does when faced with a decision.

Have to say it, I didn't like Kai much and thought Avery was a dork (not bad or anything, just dorky). Kai gets frustrated/upset because Charlie has a lot going on and then gets shirty when her boss (Avery) is at her place when he comes by. There was too many red flags for me in that whole thing. I also kind of hated Kai's family. Way too into his business and Charlie's and I didn't find it charming. 

Charlie's best friend bugged a bit too since she was also judging Charlie's life and seeming to think that without a man her becoming a head chef (baker) at a restaurant wasn't a big deal. I don't know, I loved Charlie a lot, but the previous two characters I met bugged me.

The setting changes from New York to Seattle and I really enjoyed how Stuart describes both places. You can even feel the difference between both spaces since New York sounds cramped, dark, and smelly and Seattle sounds like heaven on Earth with green spaces, farmer's market, and apartments with a lot of light and views of the water. 

The ending as I said above didn't do a lot for me. Though we do get a silver lining of sorts with Charlie getting her own version (I guess) of a HEA with an out of nowhere offer.

A Mother Like Mine: Updated Review!

A Mother Like Mine (A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel) - Kate Hewitt

Got a kick out of the third book in this series. Kate Hewitt looks at an estranged mother/daughter named Abby and Laura Rhodes. I was more intrigued with the chapters that featured Laura, but Abby was compelling in her own way. I think that Hewitt smartly didn't have everything end up hearts and flowers since her books take a realistic look at things, while still simmering with a bit of romance in the background. The characters/relationships between 6 sets of women through the past 3 books is what is most important. Having a guy in your life is just gravy.

"A Mother Like Mine" has Abby and Laura Rhodes trying their best to have some sort of relationship with each other after Laura has left Abby's care to Laura's mother. Laura had Abby when she was 16 and two years after that moved to Manchester to work in a night club, eventually ending up in America (New York). After being fired from her job for being too old, (she's 42 people) Laura returns to Hartley-by-the-Sea realizing that if she never tries to have a relationship with Abby, all of her sacrifices she did will mean nothing. Abby rightfully so is angry her mother has returned, and her home life has turned upside down. Abby has a young son named Nath that she is trying to raise solo while also running her grandmother's shop. It's not what she dreamed of doing with her her life, but she's content, or so she thinks.

I am not going to lie. I did not care for Laura at all when she swanned in. She demands that Abby sleep with her young son so she gets a bedroom and seems reluctant to even talk to her. If you don't get her side of things via her chapter POV you wouldn't even know how much pain she is in at times. What I loved the most about Laura is she owns the mistakes she made and what she has done. There is no trying to make excuses or anything else. But she's not a saint, she gets frustrated with Abby and seems quite perplexed by children as a whole. 

Abby has some issues with being abandoned by her mother and dealing with a boyfriend who died while she was pregnant with their child. It's not said out right, but the boyfriend's parents just left her to her own devices and wanted to pretend their precious son had nothing to do with her. Abby is reluctant to move forward at times and it's great that Laura is there to push her along the way. When Laura is genuinely happy she is now able to read her daughter at times, it will make you smile.

There's a hint of a romance for Laura in this one which I am curious if it will be discussed in the next book (if there is one). And though Abby has a crush on someone, it's not the most important thing in the world. For both women, the business the run, and Abby's son is important. 

I loved we got to see updated on previous characters and there's a shocking reveal about someone close to one of our characters too. We do get a wedding (no spoilers) that made me happy to see as well.

Hartley-by-the-Sea has grown on me through three books and I can't wait to see what Hewitt has up her sleeves next.

 

Going to count this towards The Mostly Dead Writers Society 52 week challenge: Romance.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

A Mother Like Mine (A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel) - Kate Hewitt

Great third book in the series. I enjoyed reading about Abby and her mother Laura. Laura had Abby when she was 16 and then left after two years. Abby sees her grandmother as her real mother and Laura as someone that comes around once in a while. When a career setback has Laura coming back to England, she's hopeful she can finally have a relationship with Abby. They both have a lot of pain to work through.

 

I lost the will to live (almost) waiting on the search function to find this book and trying to do edits to the book (added the cover and description of the book, etc.

Now and Then Friends

Now and Then Friends: A Hartley-By-The-Sea Novel - Kate Hewitt Ultimately satisfying though I have to say if you are looking for a rah female friendship book, the two main characters have very little do with each other for most of the book which was funny. Instead both of them rely on people they have either just met and or have known for a while before circling back to their friendship. I found it a bit weird, but ultimately liked it. Rachel is still hurting from Claire turning away from their friendship when they were pre-teens and Claire is oblivious to the hurt she caused. This is the second book in the Hartley-by-the-Sea books. We were introduced to one of the characters in the first book, Rachel Campbell. The second character we follow is Claire West. Rachel has had a hard life. She gave up the chance to go to university and get a degree in chemistry. Instead she is forced to drop out after her father runs out on her, her two younger sisters, and her disabled mother. Rachel takes over her mother's cleaning business and cleans the homes of the residents of Hartley-by-the-Sea and wishes for better things for her younger sister who is about to take her O levels. Forgive me if I got that wrong since I did not grow up in England and always mess up the A and O levels in books. Though Rachel is not trying to, she is pressuring her younger sister to do what she didn't do which is to go to university and get a degree in biology. Claire is hiding in Hartley-by-the-Sea. After her fiancee calls her parents and claims she's an alcoholic, Claire goes to rehab and then refuses to follow her parents to London. Instead she goes back to her childhood home where she hopes to find a job. Rachel is surprised to run into Claire when she stops by to clean one day and it brings up all of her anger towards Claire dropping her when they were kids. Claire finds a job at the local store/post office and is doing her best to push her parents and her older brother, Andrew, out of always thinking they know what's best for her. We have a lot of secondary characters in this one. We have Rachel's two sisters, her nephew, and Claire's brother Andrew, as well as the shopkeeper that hires Claire. We also get some nice sightings of Juliet and Lucy from book #1 as well as Abby Rhodes (who is the focus of book #3) and a few other characters as well. Hewitt does a nice job with writing about two girls whose lives did not turn out the way they expected. They both get pushed in different ways which was great. Rachel has to learn to let go, and Claire has to learn to speak up for herself and do what she wants, even if it is hard. We do get some romance in this one, but not a lot honestly. Both of the women are the focus in this book and they have a lot going on from beginning to end. Hartley-by-the-Sea sounds charming though cold and Hewitt does a great job with describing the village and it's inhabitants love of the weekly pub quiz. The ending has both women on a different path and I hope that Hewitt keeps following up on them in future books.